While the political opposition has been anything but a force to reckon with in parliament since losing the June 2006 elections, a spring squabble has left it not only disconsolate but also deeply divided.
The decision of the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK, leader Pál Csáky at left, center) to support the passage of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty on April 10 was regarded as a betrayal by its former government partners, the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ, leader Mikuláš Dzurinda at left, top) and the Christian Democrats (KDH, leader Pavol Hrušovsky at left, bottom). The latter two parties had wanted to withhold support for the measure until the Robert Fico government backed down on its restrictive new Press Act.
However, with the support of SMK MPs, the ruling coalition mustered the 90 votes it needed in the 150-seat chamber to pass the EU treaty. The Press Act had been approved earlier without compromises proposed by the opposition.
The KDH said the SMK had sold its support in exchange for a change in the new Schools Act, which would have required Hungarian-language schools to devote equal time to teaching Slovak. The KDH and SDKÚ later held meetings without inviting the SMK, and snubbed a conference called by the SMK to discuss how to deal with the Press Act.
23. Jun 2008 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports